Your Favourite Instagram Photos of 2015

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As I only really joined Instagram this summer (seriously late to the Instagram party, I know!) I didn’t get the chance to share as many photos as I would have liked this year. 2016 is going to to different though, as I am now a total Instagram addict and have so many awesome snaps that I can’t wait to share with you all. Plus, I have a jam-packed year full of travel planned (all will be revealed before the new year) so I’m sure there will be lots of great images to share from my future adventures!

For now though, here are your favourite Instagram photos of 2015. Thanks to everyone for following along and hope to see more of you in 2016!

A photo posted by Janet Newenham (@janetnewenham) on

A photo posted by Janet Newenham (@janetnewenham) on

Best. Selfie. Ever.

A photo posted by Janet Newenham (@janetnewenham) on

A photo posted by Janet Newenham (@janetnewenham) on


A photo posted by Janet Newenham (@janetnewenham) on


Expat Interview: Oisin Feeney, A Photographer in Korea

Couple Kiss at Korea Burn

This is the second interview in my Expat Interview Series, where I plan to interview my expat friends who have dotted themselves all over the world. I’m hoping this series of posts will provide some insight into what it is like to live overseas, and might even encourage a few people to pack their bags and make the move! 

In this installment of my Expat Interview series, I met Oisin Feeney, a media graduate from Ireland, who is currently working as an English Teacher and Photographer in South Korea, having previously spent some time living and working in Chicago. I believe that Oisin’s interview, and his general outlook on life abroad, make him an excellent role model for others becoming disillusioned with life back home. He is carving out his own future, and plans to continue doing what he loves, and encourages others to do the same!

“Usually my job and my passion are separate things; The job allows me to stay in a place, the passion allows me to be content there.”

What made you move abroad?

I got back from Chicago completely broke and accepted the first job that I was offered. It was a job in a call centre for a bank and with each passing day I grew more and more depressed and dissatisfied with the lifestyle. When I saw a friend post that there was a vacancy for a teacher in Korea I jumped at the opportunity!

How did you make your first friends?

Well when you first arrive in Korea, most towns will have a facebook group for teachers in the area. So a lot of your friendships at the beginning are geographical friendships. Then I started working as a photographer/ tour guide for a group at the weekends, WINK Travels. Many people go on these trips solo and it is a great chance to meet people and find people with similar interests.


What do you love about being an expat?

I suppose my favourite thing about being an expat is that you live a relatively untethered life over here. My job looks after my bills, rent and insurance. I never feel like I have to struggle to make ends meet like I did in Chicago, living for tips. When I have free time I can totally devote it to my own creative pursuits.

What have been your favourite moments from the last year?

Oh now this one is a difficult question indeed. One would have to be the Jindo Sea Parting Festival. It happens once a year and the sea parts just wide enough for a procession of people to walk from mainland Korea over to a smaller Island, the curiously named Mordor. We did it the opposite way round, we got a boat to the island, danced and sang with the locals and as the waves receded we began to walk to the mainland.

The drums never stopped playing the whole way across and it was a great celebration when the island folk met the mainland folk in the middle of this ‘bridge’. It was wonderful. I took one of my favourite ever photos there of older Koreans taking a break from fishing and dancing with the drums. Korean traditional drums are an amazing sight.

Sea Parting

Night fishing in Jindo, during the Sea Parting Festival

What are your favourite places in Korea?

One of my favourite places has to be Deokjeok Island. It is beautiful. We organised a trip there but only one person signed up. We used this time to explore the island and make it more interesting for future trips. We found a beautiful hike to the top of a mountain and there you can get a stunning sunset over the island. Hiking down in the dark is a bit tricky, mind! But it’s worth it!

As well as that, the mountains in Korea are simply stunning. Seroksan Mountain was a bitch of a climb, but after 15 hours of hiking the view at the top was breath taking.

Why is Korea such a great place to photograph?

Korea is a great place to photograph because the country is so alive. There are people everywhere… Seoul city is positively teaming with life, and photographic opportunities. Yet only a short bus ride away you can be on a mountain, on a beach or at a beautiful temple. The possibilities are limitless.


Sunrise in Jeolla

Are there more opportunities to take interesting photographs in Korea than Ireland?

I think when it comes to taking photographs it is not about the camera or even about the location. It is about the artist’s perception. If I am happier, I take better photographs. When I am bored and uninspired, my photos reflect my feelings. In Ireland I was uninspired… My country is so beautiful, but I just wasn’t ready to settle there.

Is it easy to get paid work as a photographer?

NO! The vast majority of the gigs I get offer a free ticket in exchange for photos publicising the trip. It works fine for me though, as it gives me the chance to perfect my portfolio. I have recently started doing couple photography and really love it. The happiness I feel after a successful shoot is like a drug for me. Whatever about the money but when a customer tears up because she likes my photos, that is the best payment I could ever receive.


What are your future plans?

Future plans? I will stay in Korea another year and keep working as a photographer/ tour guide. I currently interview other photographers for the ‘Photographers in Korea’ website. As well as that I want to do a lot more photo shoots for couples, it is my one of my favourite styles of photography right now. I will also be working on the website to try and improve my photo blogging/writing skills. Along with the teaching of course!

What advice would you give to someone moving abroad?

Finding work is easy, but finding happiness is not. I find happiness in being busy and always trying to better myself. There are so many ways this can be interpreted though. If yoga is your thing, then do it. Use the job to get to a country and then TRY EVERYTHING. EXPERIENCE EVERYTHING. You have nothing to lose.

To view more of Oisin’s beautiful photography, check out his website here and his Facebook page here. You can also read his piece on ‘Moving to Korea’ on Irish Youth site


A Glimpse Of Beautiful Prague

prague buildings

As part of my 2015 New Year’s Resolution to see one new country every month, I jetted off to beautiful Prague two weeks ago with 5 amazing ladies from GirlCrew Dublin, a great new community that helps fellow fearless females find gig buddies, exercise buddies or in my case travel buddies.

The strangest thing about the trip was that none of us had met before so arriving at Dublin airport on the Friday morning was was pretty exciting. Luckily, everyone was incredibly nice and we all got along great. Just as well, considering we would all be sharing an apartment together for the next few nights!

Prague has always been a place I wanted to visit as I had heard nothing but positive reviews from family and friends about the stunning architecture, the castle, Charles bridge, the famous ‘Infant of Prague’ statue and of course all that local beer!!

Looking for a great day trip from Prague? Why not check out the Bone Church Of Sedlec Ossuary.

While I did find it a little more expensive than many make it out out to be, I was truly blown away by how beautiful the city was. Thus, instead of describing all the amazing places we saw, I will instead share this mini photo essay with you. All these were taken on my Nokia Lumia phone…so they are hardly the best quality but I like them none-the-less. 

prague architecture

bridge river cruise

charicature charles bridge charles bridge winter charles bridge church prague   modern architecture prague 2  prague at night prague buildings prague castle prague colour prague cruise prague skyline selfie prague tram prague


That Time A Korean Cosmetic Store Photoshopped My Face


Over the weekend, I went to a Soccer game in Seoul World Cup Stadium with a big group of friends. We had all had a very late night/early morning the night before so were a little worse for wear come Sunday afternoon. Lack of makeup and unwashed hair aside, we spent the day cheering on Seoul FC and feeling pretty proud of ourselves for opting to be productive rather than hibernating in out match box-sized apartments.

After the match we headed into the shopping centre to grab a coffee, relax and try to warm up having being outside in the almost freezing cold Korean winter for the last 2-3 hours. As we walked in a well dressed, perfectly manicured Korean lady approached me and my friend and asked if we would like to get our photo taken for free. It all looked professional with proper lighting, cameras and a “set” where we could sit and pose so without delay my friend and I signed up.

The photo shoot was organized my Korean Cosmetic brand “Skin Food” which specializes in all sorts of lotions, moisturizer and cosmetics for your face, body and hair to make you look both younger and “whiter”, two aspects of beauty which every Korean aspires to be. We answered a few questions which had been roughly translated from Korean to English with regards to our skin tone, how old we were, how old our skin looked, what we would like to change about our skin and other questions which I usually avoid/hate to answer. 

After about 5 minutes we sat down and were asked to pose naturally, which we attempted to do. While they loved my dear friend Mandy (a 38-year-old with the skin of a 31-year-old, or so they said with much delight and awe), they kept telling me “smile bigger”, “smile with your eyes” “You’re too awkward” and “Still too awkward”. The 3 hours of sleep I had had the night before, many hours of dancing, cocktails, hours of shopping, match day pints and general tiredness was suddenly catching up with me and I simple did not have the energy to pose like a Korean. We gave our phone numbers and the woman said we would be sent 2 photos; the first one would be of us “au natural” and the second one would be photo-shopped by the “talented” photographers and would make us look younger and whiter, the look we should aspire to be.

Instead of writing any more, I’m simply going to post the ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots as I am still slightly frightened and slightly horrified at how they think I should look as opposed to how I look right now. I may look tired, I may look hung over, I may look “too dark”, but I still like the way I look “au natural” way, way more than their idea of “photoshopped perfection”.

The "before" picture

The “before” picture

The "after" shot.

The “after” shot.

Related posts:

Big is Beautiful – Except in South Korea

Cosmetic Surgery in Korea – Starting Young

Korea- What Grinds My Gears


A Korean Island Escape – Camping on a Deserted Island

camping on island

When I signed up last-minute to a weekend camping trip on a deserted island off the West coast of Korea last weekend, I had no real idea what to expect.

As some poor unfortunate soul dropped out on the Friday morning, I jumped at the opportunity to take their spot and spend what was predicted to be a scorcher of a weekend camping with 60 other waygooks on an island. Although WinK (When in Korea, a travel group I often go on tours with here in Korea) described this island as having ‘no electricity, no running water’ they also said their would be the chance to see bioluminescent plankton and build a campfire to beat all campfires!’ Sounded like my kind of place!

panorama beach shot

I had less than 5 minutes to pack my bags for the weekend before I ran out the door to work, and spent my lunch break frantically running around HomePlus in search of a tent, snacks to munch on and sufficient alcohol to survive 2 days on a deserted island.Later in the day another friend of mine secured the last spot on the trip, I managed to borrow a tent from a friend and we were al set for the weekend ahead.

After many hours of traveling (4 hours standing on a subway!) Coral and I eventually found the motel we were staying in and joined the group for dinner. I mean, who doesn’t love eating galbi (Korean bbq) at 1 o’ clock in the morning. After a few beers, some shots of soju and talking to both old and new friends, it was time for bed. Despite only getting 2 hours sleep and having to wake up at 5am Saturday morning, I leaped out of bed with a smile on my face and was ready for the journey ahead. We would need to take a bus to the port, a large ferry to a  nearby island and the WinK leader had prepared 3 smaller boats to take us to the private island which would be all ours for the weekend!

group on ferry

peeps on ferry

We waited at the ferry port for about an hour for everyone to arrive and I couldn’t help but laugh when people started cracking open bottles of beer at 7 o’clock in the morning. I followed suit soon enough and the weekend was suddenly off to a fantastic start! The ferry journey was really relaxing, withe everyone sitting up on deck watching seagulls follow the ferry as local Koreans through big chunks of bread off the side of the boat. Beers were drunk, jokes were told and many photographs were taken.

One more, smaller, boat ride later and we arrived at our final destination, Sa Seong Bong Do. Considering the amount of stuff everyone had with them, the half hour walk to the camping spot was a bit painful. If I was to do this trip again I would re-think what i consider ‘essentials’ and pack as light as possible. That said, the people with the most stuff happened to be carrying ice-coolers and canopy to provide shade to the masses, things which would have been greatly missed if left at home!

arriving on deserted island

boat drinking

We were all pretty wrecked, and a little tipsy in my case, by the time we set up camp and pitched out tents. Many decided a quick dip in the sea was needed while others went for a nap. The day was spent playing games on the beach, making new friends, searching for wood for the campfire and relaxing with new friends while sipping on cold sangria and laughing and the ludicrous card combinations turned over in the always-popular ‘Cards against Humanity’!

Later in the day, people started preparing their food for dinner. Turns out just because you are going camping does not need you need to starve yourself. In fact, judging by the food and crazy-innovative ideas thought up by the dozens of other super-prepared campers, I realised that camping food can in fact be bordering on ‘gourmet’ if you are fully prepared.

While I munched on doritos and salsa, apples and a few protein bars, others were cooking steaks (one guy managed to eat more than SIX steaks in a 12 hour period!!), grilling sausages and meat kebabs, wrapping potatoes and a mixture of veggies in tin foil and cooking them over the camp fire. There were smores, breakfast burritos, fried eggs, french toast, potato salads and an array of other things to make your mouth water. Gas cookers, frying pans, saucepans and an array of other cooking utensils that I would never have thought of bringing were on offer, as people cooked up fresh clams, pasta and who knows what else!


colorful sunglasses

cards against humanity


The night was spent playing drinking games, singing along to typical campfire songs and some people braved the cold water in search of the bioluminescent plankton which we had all being told about. Lighting the fire was a pretty amazing moment, as everyone gathered around in a circle, mesmerised by the flames, watching with anticipation for Skofes ‘Bird effigy’ to explode into a Burning Man-esque fireball. Less than a few minutes in and the masterpiece was pretty much ruined, but it sure was fun to watch!

Waking up a little hung over Sunday morning, I crawled out of my tent to see just a few stragglers stil sitting on the beach chatting. I wasn’t too sure whether they had simply woken earlier than I had or they had decided to stay up all night. The campfire was smouldering, the surrounding area was littered with empty bottles and remnants of what had happened the night before but best of all there were half empty bags of marshmallows  scattered about the place. The wonderful Ashley provided us with chocolate biscuits and whoever was awake got treated to delicious smores for breakfast. As they say, the early bird catches the worm!



seagulls ferry 1

All in all, it was probably one of the best weekend I have had while in Korea. The fact that it was so isolated made it all the more special. In Korea, we are so used to being near to the every-day comforts like toilets, corner stores which never close and restaurants which stay open til the wee hours of the morning. We are surrounded by people, cars, buses, subways and flashing lights on every street corner. It was so great to just get away from city-living, even just for one weekend, to relax on a beach with not a worry in the world and sort of ‘get back to nature’.

If you want to go on this trip, or similar ones, check out the WinK Facebook page for a list of their upcoming events! I would HIGHLY recommend it!